Sometimes I have to laugh.
This particular chuckle happens in classrooms when I’m teaching school. For fun, I stand in front of the class and say to my elementary students, “Raise your hand if you think the Earth revolves around the sun.” Most of the kids raise their hand. That’s the correct answer, by the way.
Then I say, “Who thinks the sun goes around the Earth?” Every time, five or more kids raise their hand, all wrong. It’s unbelievable.
I have done this for years from here to the mainland, and to my disbelief, about a quarter of all school kids up to the 8th grade actually believe the sun revolves around the Earth!
Hawaiian kids might get this false idea from the myth of the god Maui who roped the sun as it floated around the Earth. It looks good in a cartoon anyway.
I also play another game.
In Kona, I ask the kids to point toward the Hilo side. They have lived here their whole life but more than half up to 7th grade always point in the wrong direction, west toward the ocean. They think Hilo is over by Japan. They believe false information, so they point the wrong way.
But people believe a lot of crazy things.
They once believed the Earth was flat, but scientific evidence proved it’s round, and we accepted it.
Throughout history, false beliefs pop up and are ignorantly accepted as fact. Today, one of those falsehoods is popping up again, the belief that Earth is doing just fine and there is no global warming.
In the face of overwhelming scientific evidence that the Earth is heating up at a horrendous rate, some people still don’t believe it, saying the Earth has heated up before so everything’s cool, no pun intended.
Scientists agree it has heated up in the past but nowadays conditions are different. There are countless cars spewing out billions of tons of carbon monoxide. Coal and oil refineries pumping out plumes of deadly smoke. Vast dumping grounds of old refrigerators are releasing tons of Freon gas into the air. Glaciers the size of the state of Delaware are falling off both poles. Hurricanes are tripling each year.
It’s obvious, nature is not acting naturally.
The ozone layer that protects us is being burned off and the sun is heating things up, like the air, glaciers, oceans, and your skin.
The problem could be solved if everyone got on board, but many deluded souls are sitting in our big sinking lifeboat refusing to paddle and stopping those who do.
The irony is that the same respected scientists, worldwide, who tell us the Earth is round and we revolve around the sun are the same scientists that tell us about global warming. So if you believe the ones telling you the Earth is round, you have to believe the Earth is heating up fast. But people still believe falsely.
This shows that the ones who deny global warming are just like my students who believe false information so are pointing the wrong way.
Dennis Gregory writes a bi-monthly column for West Hawaii Today and welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org